This sum, $374,241.98, fed the destitute in this city alone, and has been reimbursed to the commissary department by your order from the proceeds of property sequestrated and sold by the commission of sequestration instituted prior to your arrival and command of the Department of the Gulf.
The cost of subsisting the colored population and destitute beyond the limits of the city has been borne by the Subsistence Department of the Army, without compensation, at an expense nearly if not equal to that of the subsistence of our entire army for an equal period prior to this rebellion.
These are unequaled and unheard-of charities in any age or country, by any army, and completely reverse the very general rule of subsisting armies upon the countries in which they operate-for here we actually support the poor of the country we occupy.
Under the system inaugurated by you in the early spring of employing the vagrant and freed colored population by the cultivation of the abandoned plantations of those in arms against us, they were not only in a fair way of providing for themselves, but for their children and own infirm people. The transfer, however, of all these plantations to another department of the Government of old and young negroes whose labor is not available in making plantation crops, and who are not provided for by that department of the Government now cultivating these lands.
The fund arising from the sale of sequestrated property, referred to above, is exhausted. The inclement winter months now at hand will again enormously increase the number of destitute families. In ten days other means must be found to provide for these wants. Without further orders the commissaries of subsistence must discontinue the issue of supplies to the destitute in this city.
Humanity, common sense, and necessity all would seem to require that if the General Government is to continue to provide for these people it should be done from the proceeds of property coming into the hands of Treasury agents from seizures and plantation culture.
The burden of providing for the poor should go with the available means of those who have brought destitution upon them. If these are not sufficient, this city at least, by taxes or loans, should contribute the necessary balance. In the meantime, however, I have the honor to request your instructions and orders for my government and that of the department under my charge.
I am, general, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. G. BECKWITH,
Colonel A. D. G., and Chief Com. of Subsistence, Dept. of the Gulf.
WAR DEPT., PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., October 26, 1863.
Colonel CONRAD BAKER,
1st Ind. Cav., Actg. Asst. Prov. March General, Indianapolis, Ind.:
COLONEL: I inclose herewith letters of instructions to the provost-marshals of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Districts of Indiana in relation to procuring recruits. You will please see that the scheme proposed is carried out in the most favorable manner practicable. The Governor is now, as you are aware, raising some new regiments. You will, therefore, before putting this scheme into effect confer with him, and if he